Environment Sustainability and Climate Change

The India Observatory works with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and the Bangalore Climate Change Initiative - Karnataka to develop research and programmes related to India on this theme.

The LSE India Observatory (IO) is involved in evidence-based research and high-level policy engagement on environmental sustainability, climate resilience and the socio-economic implications including co-benefits of mitigation and adaption toward green growth. We explore approaches to develop innovative solutions through engaging with questions pertaining to deployment of renewable technologies, urban transitions and government policies and regulations including issues of equity and fairness.

India, with its population of over 1.2 billion, its history of low emissions, its democratic, cultural, political and scientific strengths, is a key player in climate action and economic development. India’s political and economic strength makes it a leader in determining regional environmental actions, regulations and laws globally.

LSE IO conducts policy and economic analysis to develop new frameworks environmental and natural resource management related to India and beyond, with the aim of informing policy toward achieving economic development and sustainable development goals alongside environmental sustainability. LSE IO also works with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment to develop research and policy related to India.

Past projects

The LSE India Observatory (LSE-IO) organised a workshop on Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change on the 17th and 18th November 2008, at the India International Centre, New Delhi. This multidisciplinary workshop brought together scholars from the UK and India to discuss ongoing research and identify themes of mutual interest and to explore the potential for developing a collaborative research agenda.

A follow up workshop was organised at the LSE during 8-9th October 2009, in order to discuss and develop a research framework for a large-scale collaborative research programme. These workshops are supported by ESRC.

On 23rd October 2010 Professor Nicholas Stern gave the Second Jeremy Grantham Lecture on Climate Change. His talk was titled Climate Change, Overcoming Poverty and the New Industrial Revolution.

Further work of Professor Nicholas Stern on climate change can be found at Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

Climate Resilient Green Growth Strategy for Karnataka 2009-2014

This research had been undertaken by a consortium involving the LSE India Observatory (LSE-IO), Indian Institute of Science and others, through the Bangalore Climate Change Initiative - Karnataka (BCCI-K) in partnership with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).

The work plan was developed following from a workshop in Karnataka bringing together local experts. We co-organised a roundtable in Bangalore on 23rd March 2009 working with Professor BK Chandrashekar, which brought together key policymakers, researchers, members of the business community, of non-governmental organisations and of media. Professor Nicholas Stern chaired the discussions and Dr Kirit Parikh, then Chairman, Expert Group on Low-Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth, Planning Commission, Government of India and currently Chairman of Irade, participated in the workshop.

The Bangalore Climate Change Initiative - Karnataka (BCCI-K) was developed through this roundtable and was formally launched in Bangalore on 23rd October 2010. This initiative worked with the government of Karnataka for the development of low-carbon green growth for the state. The first project undertaken by BCCI-K titled Karnataka Climate Change Action Plan was submitted to the government of Karnataka in May 2011.

A subsequent workshop titled Climate Change and Karnataka: Low-carbon development path and adaptation - Twin Strategy was organised in partnership with BCCI-K in Bangalore on 26th March 2011. This workshop, supported by the Global Green Growth Initiative (GGGI), brought together various partners for the development of this programme, namely BCCI-K, Government of Karnataka, GGGI, Indian Institute of Science, C-STEP, Institute for Social and Economic Change, University of Agricultural Sciences and LSE-IO. A collaborative research project meeting was held between India Observatory, BCCI-K and GGGI was in Bangalore on 23rd February 2013.

The focus of research for this consortium had been on building robust, fact-based, state-level green growth strategy that both accelerates Karnataka's own progress and served as a model for other Indian states. The outputs helped improve the depth of analyses at the state level and contributed to the preparation and implementation of the Karnataka State Action Plan for Climate Change (SAPCC).

This research contributed to public policy through helping to develop the Karnataka state action plan on climate change. Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath and Chairman of Karnataka Legislative Council, D.H. Shankaramurthy participated in the launch and spoke of the importance of the study in addressing state-level issues resulting from climate change. The project reports (including Project flyer English/Kannada, Concept note and Climate Resilience Summary Report) on climate resilient green growth strategy for Karnataka were released by Chief Minister Siddaramiah at Vidhana Soudha on 6th December 2014.



Abstract Highlights

A tale of two Mahindra World Cities

There is growing awareness of the great potential that exists in business development models that are environmentally sustainable. Additionally, following a low-carbon development path with help toward achieving various Sustainable Development Goals including #3 (good health and wellbeing), #6 (clean water and sanitation), #7 (affordable and clean energy), #9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and #11 (sustainable cities and communities). The public and private sector working together can enable improved implementation. Additionally, it can help enhance the potential and opportunities for sustainable urban development. This paper studies the Mahindra World Cities (MWC) models of sustainable townships, which have been developed through public private partnerships in India.

Climate Mitigation and Adaptation in Karnataka

Local adaptation strategies in semi-arid regions: study of two villages in Karnataka, India

Rural people in India, particularly farmers, are exposed to climate variability and risk, which is likely to increase due to climate change. This study assessed current adaptation strategies adopted by rural households in two dryland villages of Bagepalli Block, Chikballapur district, Karnataka, in southern India. The adequacy of adaptation strategies was also assessed. The study showed that rural households, and farmers in particular, adopted several practices to cope with current climate risks which include irrigation provisioning (depending on groundwater), shifting cropping pattern (to more resilient but low economically valued crops and varieties), mixed cropping, agroforestry (as a long-term strategy), diversified livestock holdings, and reliance on government development programmes. The adaptation measures also included leaving croplands fallow, sale of assets such as livestock and trees, and migration. Current climate-related responses to agricultural distress are not adequate to cope with even existing climate risks. This further indicates that rural households may not be able to cope with increasing climate variability and climate change. Thus, there is an urgent need to better understand current adaptation strategies and to enhance resilience, and to develop structured adaptation strategies to cope with the risks associated with current and long-term climate change.